Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo is the first book in The Alex Stern series. I discovered this series from reading Leigh Bardugo’s other books and was interested to read her first adult fantasy series. Like always, I will not have any spoilers for Ninth House. Let me reassure you that this book is in fact NOT written for younger readers. This book was written for an ADULT audience, regardless if you find it in the YA section at your local book store.
Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the newest freshman at Yale. Despite being raised by a hippie mother, dropping out of school, dating drug dealers, dead-end jobs, and even worse. To make it more unbelievable, Alex is the sole survivor of an unsolved horrendous multiple homicide by the age of twenty. Even though people may say Alex threw her life away, she gets an offer of a second chance. When offered to attend one of world’s most prestigious universities with a full ride, Alex is left wondering what the catch is and why her?
While she is trying to figure this mystery out for herself, Alex’s benefactors have her monitor the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight “tombs” are the commonly known places for the future rich and powerful kids to hang out at. However the occult activities turn out to be more menacing and astonishing than any paranoid individual could imagine.
So, it’s been four months from when I finished reading Ninth House and writing this review. There are many reasons for this. First there’s my mental health and I just had to step away from being on the computer all the time. Second, life got super busy and I couldn’t help but keep reading without writing reviews immediately afterwards. Therefore this review will not be as detailed as reviews I’ve previously posted. I will have this paragraph at the beginning of the reviews that weren’t written immediately after finishing them.
There are three main characters in Ninth House, Galaxy or “Alex”, Darlington, and Dawes. This unlikely group are tasked with documenting and supervising the secret societies at Yale. Now these three characters couldn’t be more different from one another. First Alex is a girl from bad circumstances, healing, and can see the dead. Next is Darlington, Alex’s mentor, has to train Alex and prepare her for keeping the societies in check. Not only that, but he comes an influential family and described as an intellectual gentleman. Lastly, Dawes is a quite girl who works behind the scenes and prefers to be out of the spotlight.
Learning about the secret societies at Yale and the House of Lethe that supervises them was extremely interesting. Each society focuses on a different type of magic, while the House of Lethe not only prevents rituals from getting out of hand, and harming the unaware public, but also prevents spirits from interfering with these rituals. I highly enjoy the dynamics between the societies and Lethe as well as the characters. The characters all have an air of mystery around them and while doing routine work, these mysteries start to become a little clearer, secrets come out, and a sinister plot is uncovered.
“Mors irrumat omnia. Death fucks us all.”
“And maybe he wanted her to be the kind of girl who dressed as Queen Mab, who loved words and had stars in her blood.”
“I am a daughter of Lethe, and the wolves are at the door.”
“We are the shepherds. The time for that was done. Better to be a rattler. Better to be a jackal.”
“That was what magic did. It revealed the heart of who you’d been before life took away your belief in the possible.”
Star Rating: /5
Add it to Your List: Add to your Goodreads
Snag a Copy: I will always suggest getting the hard cover, but buy in any format on Amazon
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